The future of language learning

From the Modern Languages Association (MLA) regarding learning another language:

Yet despite student demand for language courses and public recognition of the opportunities of globalization, many college language programs have been reduced, closed, or threatened with closure. These actions deny students critical learning opportunities and impoverish their education. Preventing students from participating in college-level language learning does them a profound disservice, diminishes our cultural capacities, and isolates the American public from the conversations of the rest of the world.

While the MLA might be a bit harsh in their criticism, I believe the message is quite valid. There are a number of studies that show the advantages of being bilingual or multilingual. As a person who failed to gain any traction in learning another language until later in life, I wish there had been more and better opportunities for me in developing my language skills at a young age. If Canada or the US want to continue to grow economically, we need to develop the next generation of leaders who are able to interact on a global scale. I think it is naive of us to assume or demand that others learn English in order to do business with us. The future just might turn the tables on us.


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